Packing for a one day tournament can be stressful enough, but extend that to three days and you’ve got a LOT of packing to do.
Add in crazy facility requirements, long distance travel, and bored siblings who’d rather be outside, and you’ve got quite the adventure in front of you!
I’ve had my fair share of travel tournaments, but I’ve also enlisted the help of other coaches who are a part of the Get The Pancake family to create this list. Read More
No matter what our team’s normal skill level is, sometimes there are just games (or even full days!) where our athletes are just…. off.
It is probably worthwhile for you to dig into those reasons in an attempt to stop this situation from happening in the future. However, since it is usually a large, variable combination of things that may or may not have a possible solution, today I want to talk about what to do after you recognize this in your team!
I want to talk about visualization in volleyball, especially because it helped me when I was playing and still helps to this day. It’s likely that not EVERYONE will buy-in… And that’s ok!
But I want to make sure your athletes have the right tools in their toolkit to pull themselves out of a slump if possible. Read More
You’ve put in HOURS of practice, have gone over every rotation at least two dozen times, and think you’ve worked out the best lineup for your first tournament.
You make sure everyone knows where to go, when to be there, and what is (and isn’t!) allowed in the facility.
Everyone gets to the court relatively on time, and the girls start passing the ball around until it’s time to get started. And suddenly you realize… You don’t have a warmup planned.
This warm-up gets everyone moving and working primarily on the skills they’ll need in their main position, and I’ve liked how well it has worked with a few of the teams I’ve coached in the past. Read More
One of the worst feelings as a coach is when you watch your team struggle with something you FORGOT TO TEACH THEM.
“Setter out” is one of those things. Most coaches think they can just say “Setter out!” and then their players will get it. While the concept is simple, players will need to practice this skill before they fully understand what you mean.
The best part is… this is one of those * CLICK * skills that, once players understand, they’ll be unstoppable! Read More
“Stay low!” “You’re standing up!” “Use your legs!” “Shrug your shoulders!” “Get down!”
You know you’ve said one (or all!) of these phrases before. But if you find yourself saying it over, and over, and over again, maybe verbal feedback isn’t working?
That’s why I like to run the drill “Feel the Burn!” Players get immediate feedback that signals they are standing while passing the ball AS IT HAPPENS. Read More
Before your first tournament of the season, you’ll need to identify leaders on your team.
This can be a challenge because in the beginning of the season, EVERYONE is on their best behavior! Everyone hustles to shag, they’re all clapping for each other, and when you ask them to come in… they run.
But in order to find one or two players who will own the role of leader, there are a few things we as coaches can keep an eye on at practice. Noticing these characteristics early on will help you in more ways than you can count, as you’ll be able to focus attention towards guiding these players, who in turn will help steer the rest of the team for you. Read More
After your players have developed their serving accuracy, it’s time to put their skills to work!
Depending on your team’s age and skill level, there are plenty of serving strategies to consider. We’ll review a few basic strategies, plus consider a few more to get your brain muscles flexing! Read More
When players are learning to how serve a volleyball, their main focus is usually this…
JUST GET IT OVER!
But there’s more to it than that!
We can split the court into six main zones, which are simple to identify and teach. The most confusing part is remembering their order! Read More
If I had to name my top three favorite aspects of coaching volleyball, it would be:
1) Helping young players develop into volleyball athletes with confidence and self esteem;
2) Constantly being challenged to out-strategize our opponents; and
3) Creating new volleyball drills.
I guess number three, creating new drills, is BECAUSE of my top two. I like to get creative at practice and create drills specific to my team’s age, level of play, potential, strengths, and weaknesses.
There’s an ART to creating a good volleyball drill! Read More
If you are a new volleyball coach, you’re in for a treat! Whether you’re getting ready for your first volleyball practice or are in the middle of your first season, I’ve got a fun and easy volleyball drill which your team will LOVE!
OK, so…. Let’s just get this out of the way real quick...
Yes: The drill really IS named “Dead Fish.” Read More
Warning: This drill could result in hurt feelings.
Now, in volleyball, most of our drills should focus on building teamwork and team chemistry. I don’t believe there are any other team sports quite like volleyball, and you need buy-in from every single player in order to be successful.
That being said, sometimes you need players to face reality.
Yes, we all support one another, and yes, we’ll shake off mistakes as they come. But at the end of the day, there are players on your team who are better at hitting, serving, passing, etc. Read More
One of the biggest mistakes I see new coaches make is that they focus on teaching a skill in a controlled environment, but unfortunately this doesn’t translate well to game scenarios.
In a match, you’ll never have someone toss the ball to you, exactly where you’re expecting it, over and over again. In an effort to get my players used to MOVING and EXPECTING to move to the ball, I came up with this simple passing progression drill. It’s a perfect “beginning of the season” drill and is great as a skill check-up drill later in the season as well. Read More
Although I’m big on creating drills to suit my team and their specific needs each season, there’s a classic drill that I always make time for!
Running a half-court round robin with your team is a simple way to let your players lighten up a little and enjoy competing against one another. Best of all, it’s pretty simple! Read More
A new volleyball season is upon us, and I’m sure many of us are heading into our first week back on the court with gusto and optimism. But there’s a lot of pressure on us all to perform at the highest level, so we all want to make sure we show up prepared!
Having gone through the whole “new season” thing QUITE a few times, here are my own personal tips for conducting a GREAT first practice of the year. Read More
You know when those guys on horses are charging at each other with those big sticks and try to knock the other one off the horse first? Well, we do that in volleyball too!
Of course, there are no horses involved, and we really shouldn’t be making contact with the other player. Jousting in volleyball is when a ball is in that weird gray zone of “is it coming over the net, is it not?”
Ideally in his situation, your player will jump up to hit/block the ball instead of just stand there are and watch it drop (even if it’s on the other side of the net! We still want to be ready).
And I pity the fool who stands and watches while the opposing team goes up to smack it, almost certainly winning the point unchallenged.
Let’s breakdown a joust, shall we? Read More
Normally I’m all for keeping drill names short and sweet, but sometimes a long descriptive name helps players remember a drill better (and it makes me laugh hearing them repeat it).
But that’s not WHY I like 1 touch, 2 touch, 3 touch, Columbus (sort of a “left foot, left foot, left foot, right” ring to it, no?). I like this drill because it gets my players MOVING, and it helps players who are new to the concept of “pass-set-hit” transition from “bump ball.”
For you new coaches, bump ball is an affectionate name for teams who pass the ball back and forth over the net without trying to do anything other than pass it back over. This is NOT what we want! We want to (despite losses and frustration with the learning process) teach our teams to use all three hits as early as they can successfully do so. Read More
I’m going to venture into a space I don’t often occupy, and that is sharing my opinion on macro volleyball topics. Sure, I’ll debate what “ready position” actually means and can have a long discussion with you about substitution strategy, but those are just a part of the game!
Here I want to discuss two of the biggest challenges I believe volleyball programs face in their quest to getting more booties in the stands, and more people INTERESTED in volleyball. Read More
If you’re reading this, I don’t need to tell you that Senior Night is a big deal.
Traditionally the final home match of a volleyball season, Senior Night carries significance not only for your senior players, but for parents, the coaching staff, and for the rest of your program as well.
With volleyball being a fall sport in most areas in the US, this might also be on of the first times it really hits your players that they’re graduating and leaving high school life. Practically every senior night in my memory (either as a coach or as a player) involves tears.
Lots and lots of tears.
So what’s a coach to do to honor their seniors the right way? You want to make sure that they feel valued by the school and community, but let’s be real… we also have a budget to follow. Here are five ideas for you to consider if they are right for your program. Use them all, or combine them in a new way! Read More
For many of you, the middle of the season is upon on (or fast approaching), and with that, boredom can start to set in. The number of new drills and concepts which you’re teaching your team has probably dropped, and not only is your team feeling a lack of fresh energy, but you’re feeling it too!
This part of the season is my least and most favorite. When the monotony kicks in, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do! BUT! When you finally think of a fresh take on a drill or come to practice set on pepping things up, that’s when the magic happens. Read More
Passing is a skill which is unique to volleyball. There is no other sport where you run after a ball and use your forearms to pop the ball up in the air! There’s no catching, throwing, or (usually) kicking here, and that makes the concept of passing the ball entirely new to first time volleyball players.
Even players with a few seasons under their belt can struggle to pass to target consistently. That’s why I’m going to give you 4 tips to use in practice to reduce the number of shanked balls (you know, those ones that go flying backwards into the the stands) and improve your team’s overall passing skill. Read More